But I Love Him!
Excuses People Make to Stay in Abusive Relationships " … but I love him!” protests the woman whose husband has been knocking her around for the past three years  … “… but I love him!” wails the wife whose philandering spouse continues to profess his innocence, despite her proof to the contrary … “… but I still love him”  bemoans she whose hubby controls her every move -- her decisions, her friendships,  their finances -- and even their sex life … “…  I love him, but sometimes he’s mean to me” laments the lady whose paramour has perfected the art of criticizing, condemning and complaining about her every move – whether alone or in company … “…  but I love him!”   whines the woman whose partner mooches off her, changing jobs like he changes his underpants ... And the list goes on … Helloooo?!!  Wake up, ladies!!  (and gentlemen who see themselves in any one of these scenarios).  You love him?  Excuse me?  You call that love?? I'm tired of hearing people using   “… but I love him!”   as an excuse to avoid growing up. “This isn't love. It's something broken and ugly.I wanted it so badly I didn't care what it looks like" - Amanda  Grace The   “… but I love him!” syndrome has nothing to do with love.  Rather,  It is an expression of insecurity, fear, self-doubt and need.  The capacity for mature love emanates from one’s own inner security,   and the concomitant expectation that respectful treatment is a given …   that anything less is unacceptable. And by the way –  staying together  “ for the sake of the children”  is as much a cop-out as is the   “… ...
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A Heart of Gould
  I Met My Husband Through a Personal Ad Feigning an air of confidence to conceal the raging disquiet inside, I scanned the restaurant and headed for a table near the back, where I could observe him searching for the 40-something woman with whom he had shared a few words on the telephone. He had neither met me nor seen a photograph. The year was 1986, long before online dating.  I  wanted to know what life after divorce was going to look like,  and didn't like the bar scene, so - in an act of impulse -  I put a personal ad in the local newspaper. I had purposely arrived early to give myself time to acquire that elusive veneer of tranquility. The dating game was indeed uncharted territory. As a bride of only 18, I was ill prepared for the complexities of marriage. Here I was, 21 years and five children later, newly separated, on a date with a man who answered an ad I had placed in the personal column of the local newspaper. “What was I thinking?” I muttered to myself. “This man could be an axe murderer!” I took a few deep breaths. Out of the corner of my eye I noticed a tall, attractive, bearded man heading in my direction. Feeling both fearful and a little excited, I stood to shake his hand and exchange “glad-to-meet-you” pleasantries. We quickly busied ourselves with menus and meal choices, a diversion that eased us into the discovery of similarities and the sharing of histories. "Life after divorce? So far so good,” I thought to myself as I asked the obvious question: “So, what led to your separation?” “We ...
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Death of a Grandchild
  by Adele Gould Coping with the death of a grandchild – a tragic and excruciatingly painful event – garners very little support for grandparents.  What makes this loss even greater is the helplessness that grandparents feel in being unable to ease the terrible and lifelong heartache experienced by the grieving parents. My beloved granddaughter, Tal Doron (affectionately called Tali) was just four years old when she died on August 26th 2007. A stunningly beautiful child, she exuded both childlike joy and astounding maturity throughout the ten months of her suffering.  Diagnosed at age three with a rare form of brain cancer, her chances of survival were slim. Nevertheless -- as she endured the unspeakable horrors of chemotherapy and stem cell transplantation -- we convinced ourselves that she would beat the odds.  There was simply no other way to think. I hold on for dear life to the precious memories I have of her pre-cancer days, when she would squeal with delight when she saw me arrive to visit.  “Granny!”  she would shriek as she leaped with abandon into what she trustingly assumed would be my waiting embrace. Her eyes would shine with joy as she anticipated playtime, Granny-style. We would collapse on the floor, surrounded by dolls and other such girlish accoutrements.  Sometimes I got to be the Mommy and she the Daddy, and when she grew tired of parenthood, she would dump her "children" in a box, and we’d dance to the rhythm of Old McDonald, joined by her two brothers (one of whom was her twin). Sibling rivalry would fade into the background as story time began. Could there be any greater ...
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Aging Gracefully
  Aging with Dignity? Why do I think that aging with dignity is an oxymoron?  Because - with more than a smattering of nostalgia -  I am watching my optimism about aging with dignity slowly but surely drift into oblivion. But wait! Rewind ...   to the 1950s, to my high school days in Johannesburg, South Africa,  when my fellow students and I were assigned a creative writing task. We were to write an opinion piece using the title ‘Old Ladies’. My thoughts flowed easily as I put pen to paper, expounding the declining importance of older women in our society. I concluded my essay proudly and  with the unwavering conviction reserved for the unconscious mind – stating that I had no wish to live past the age of  (wait for it!)  49, beyond which I would simply be a burden on society! It’s a good thing my sentiments slipped past the ‘powers that be’  or I wouldn’t be here to tell the story!  Oh! how I’m eating my words now! I suppose I should be ashamed of my teenage ignorance,  but I am far more concerned about the “A” grade that I received for this essay!  I have a  great deal  to say about that! Firstly,  I should have been hauled into the Guidance Counselor’s office to begin a process of social awareness training. Secondly, somebody should have explored where on earth I got the idea that 50 was old!!  Although I did not grow up with grandparents (all  died during my pre-school years), I had aunts and uncles who were probably in their 50’s and up. 49??  What was I thinking??  Hell, when I was 49 (almost 20 years ago) I ...
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Stuck in Slow Motion
Stuck in Slow Motion:  Finding Joy Behind  the Mask of Parkinson's Disease? What is Parkinsons Disease? Parkinsons disease is a degenerative neurological disorder  for which there is currently no cure, and at  this time the progression of the disease cannot be slowed down. At best the symptoms can be managed . I have been living with Parkinsons disease for ten years. What Are the Symptoms of Parkinsons disease? Parkinsons Diisease is classified as a Movement Disorder because it affects the muscles  that control our  movements. A lack of dopamine causes a kind of 'broken link' between the brain and the muscles  The disease is characterized by  muscle rigidity, hand tremors and slowing of movement. Many people with Parkinsons disease  in its more advanced stages also have impaired balance, a stiff facial expression, shuffling gait, muffled speech, and small, cramped handwriting. Some experience memory loss, others struggle with disease-induced depression Diagnosis My memories of D-Day (“Diagnosis Day”) remain vivid.  “You have garden-variety Parkinson’s Disease,” announced the neurologist casually, leaving me fighting back tears as I tried to maintain a dignified front.  “Garden variety Parkinson’s disease?” I repeated to myself and "What is  Parkinsons disease?"  For months after, as I tried in vain to deny my new reality,   I devoured copious bits of information  on disease progression, impact and management and in the hope that knowledge would empower me. Instead, it filled my mind with images of a future truncated by rapidly-spiraling physical and mental deterioration.   I was utterly devastated. Fighting the Good Fight As the initial shock began to wear off I resolved to fight this strong adversary with every fibre of my being, and to uphold my joyful disposition, despite the ...
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Confessions of a Cat Burglar
"My husband said it was him or the cat ...  I miss him sometimes".   Unknown Cat Flushing Toilet?? Is That Possible This is a story about my  'cat flushing toilet'  discovery.  So -  there I was, alone at home, quietly reading the newspaper and minding my own business, when I thought I heard the sound of someone flushing a toilet . I froze on the spot, terrified. "Can a toilet flush by itself? Is there a stranger in my apartment?"  I wondered, and  "How on earth did anyone get in?" I could see the front door from my chair in the living room, and it was impossible that someone could have come in while I was sitting there, unless perhaps I had dozed off for a minute or two – but I was pretty sure I had not. Trembling, I picked up the phone to call 911, but then replaced the receiver. "Perhaps I drifted off momentarily and woke up in the middle of a dream?" "That must be what happened" I told myself, breathing a sigh of relief, and refocusing my attention on the article I had been reading before I was so rudely interrupted. But just a few minutes later I heard it again. I was NOT imagining it! Wondering where I could hide, I tiptoed stealthily towards the spare bedroom, hiding behind the door, from where I could see into the bathroom. Lo and behold – and with utter disbelief  -  I saw my cat flushing the toilet!! I could hardly believe my eyes and ears, but indeed, with much relief I realized that the mystery prowler was – beyond ...
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Overcoming Adversity
  True Inspirational Stories Give Us Renewed Hope and Optimism Once in a while the unexpected crosses our path. We witness events - true inspirational stories - which elevate us from the ordinary to the extraordinary, touching our souls at the very deepest level. Earlier this week I experienced such an event, filling me with joy and strengthening my belief in the inherent goodness of humanity. Background In order to do justice to this inspiring story, allow me to briefly outline the context. Being a lover of both traditional and popular classical music, I have developed a passion for the wonderful “Johann Strauss Orchestra”, led by its founder,  conductor and violist par excellence, Andre Rieu. He and his 60 member orchestra regularly perform at concerts across the globe, and follow a tradition of holding an annual concert in his home town of Maastricht in the Netherlands. This annual event – for some 5,000 people - is recorded on video, and released a day or two later to movie theatres around the world, for just two showings. I attended the first of these earlier this week, and it was there  that I witnessed one of life's most uplifting stories. The Announcement The three-hour performance was, for me, an absolutely magical experience, culminating (about 15 minutes before the end) in an announcement by Andre Rieu that he had invited another orchestra - called the Jostiband Orchestra - to join him on stage. This, he explained, was an orchestra with a difference, in that all the members were mentally challenged adults. Under the loving and watchful eye of their conductor, approximately 25 of these individuals proceeded to join Andre and his Johann Strauss ...
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Senior Blog for My Senior Years
  Senior Blog for My Senior Years Welcome to Senior Blog - my new toy!  Two months ago I was an ordinary, 66 year old grandmother with a passion for writing.  I’m still ordinary, I’m still 66 and I’m still a grandmother – but what was a passion for writing has blossomed into a passion for blogging – whatever that means! How Do You Get a Blog? Beats me! It sure helps to have to have children who grew up in the computer era.  Blogging is an integral part of their collective psyche, which is a bonus for me, because my twin sons created this blog site as a Mothers Day gift. They know how much I love to write, and they wanted my stories to be read by others instead of having them stagnating on my desktop. They put so much love, time and effort into this gift that it is incumbent upon me to learn how to use it. But alas! blogging has a language of its own (I call it ‘Blog-ese’) and my senior brain doesn't  digest newspeak like it used to.  If I want to cover senior issues (about which I am entirely too familiar)  I'm going to need lots of help with blogging.  It is not exactly a walk in the park to absorb this techno-babble, and I envy the generation who – in the blink of any eye – can make a new blog site. So much to learn – all this unfamiliar jargon!  What on earth is a dashboard? The last I heard it was part of a car.  RRS Feed?  Twitter?  Tweet?  Facebook? Tag? How on earth ...
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I Never Dreamed
25th Wedding Anniversary Poem " I Never Dreamed  … " Written October 2011   I never dreamed when I met you that day That my life would be changed in a most profound way Lost and alone -  I knew not where to start For I longed to find someone who’d capture my heart   I never dreamed that in you I would find A person so gentle – so thoughtful and kind A partner whose love and devotion is real A man I can trust with all that I feel  I never dreamed  as we talked and we shared That we’d end up together – two souls ill-prepared Though the odds were against us we made it somehow As we leaned on each other - and still do that now     I never dreamed, when I first saw your face How I’d melt in the warmth of your loving embrace How you’d show me in so many millions of ways That you’re thinking of me through your busiest of days     I never dreamed that the bond I saw forming Would quickly become a love quite transforming Through my ups and my downs you have stayed at my side And I know that in you I can always confide     I should have seen – the signs were there Your love was simply everywhere No matter what the circumstance My life had become an unending romance     It’s hard to believe that we’ve come so far Since the day that you read my ad in The Star I’m thankful each and every day For all these years with my wonderful Jay   With my love forever   ( See About Adele Gould, and  Life After Divorce) ...
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Our Secret Place
  Our Secret Place Written 2011 Four years ago we kissed your lips and whispered our goodbyes Four years since the light was taken from those big brown eyes Surrounded now by photographs that greet me every day To bring to life the moments spent together lost in play   Time propels us forward – so little place for grief Tears are frozen, cries are silent!  Stolen by a thief! So I found a Secret Place -  a place for you and me A reservoir of memories where feelings can run free    When life feels overwhelming and I need to hide awhile Our Secret Place awaits me,  and gives me cause to smile Awakening remembrances of precious times we shared A haven that protects me when I’m feeling sad or scared   Sometimes when I’m lost in thought, your smiling face appears Inviting me to join you in this Place that knows no tears Where your laughter echoes silently and still I hear your voice And feel the hugs that gave me every reason to rejoice   Our Secret Place consoles me and bestows some peace of mind It’s a place where time stands still -  and where pain is left behind Where reflections from the past, feel palpable and real A kaleidoscope of images that soothe and help me heal   And Tali – when I feel your presence in Our Secret Place The ache residing in my soul is softened by your grace And when I leave this harbour, to face the world once more I take with me the quiet inside that eluded me before   Though your time on earth was short you left a legacy of song A tapestry of joy that that’s ever colourful and strong No matter how the years go by or how long we’re apart Time ...
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Understanding Deaf Culture
My lesson in understanding deaf culture began during an exercise class I attended. Her question took me by surprise:  “How did you know I am deaf?” she asked. We had met an hour earlier in an exercise class, and began to chat while waiting for the instructor.  Mouthing my words carefully, I had strained to understand her speech, having had little exposure to people with hearing impairment.   During the exercise class I clarified instructions that she couldn’t grasp by lip reading, and we left together – embarking on a friendship that started a three years ago, and is transforming me in ways I could never have imagined. Understanding Deaf Communication Our connection has evolved primarily through our daily email correspondence, as the geographic distance between our homes precludes regular socialization opportunities.    We share our stories – our hopes, our fears, the past and the present, the good and the bad - and I find myself feeling compelled to learn about her world: the deaf world As a child, Carol never learned sign language, and communicates through speech and lip reading.  Married for 45 years to a hearing man, she has hearing children and grandchildren.   On the few occasions on which Carol and I have gone out together I have been in awe of her cheerful disposition in the face of challenging interactions with the hearing world. I am aware of the grace with which she interacts, and I am uncomfortably aware of my position of privilege as a hearing person, and a member of mainstream society. I am drawn to her because of her willingness to bare her soul – a soul that has ...
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A Poem About Loss - Death of My Granddaughter
  The Death of My Granddaughter A Poem About Loss "Sometimes I Dream" Written August 2009 Sometimes I dream that I’ll wake up to find That the past two years was a figment of mind My heart skips a beat as I reach for your hand Does anyone out there understand?   Sometimes I dream that life’s still the same That you‘ll still come running when I call out your name So I whisper our songs as I daydream aloud And I hear you singing from behind a cloud   Sometimes I dream that from darkness comes light But my daughter’s in pain and I can’t make it right Her little girl’s time on this earth was too brief And each day of her life she must live with her grief   Two years have gone by since I touched your sweet face You lived with such courage and died with such grace Your shining eyes and heavenly smile Come down to greet me when I stop awhile   Oh!  How I long for the joy now denied The wondrous delight of being by your side But memory is such a magical gift That sustains me each day when my soul is adrift   And Tal, when I’m ready to bid life adieu How old will you be? Will I recognize you? I am not afraid – I know you’ll be there To journey with me through the great somewhere   Sometimes I Dream … (See About Adele Gould, Death of a Grandchild and Death Anniversary Poems) ...
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